This website uses "cookies" which help us to provide you with a good browsing experience and to improve our website. If you do not wish to accept cookies, please see the section below explaining how to disable cookies in your browser.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files sent from a website to your computer where they are stored by your web browser. Every time you go back to the same website, the browser retrieves this file and sends the information in it to the website server. Cookies are not programmes, and they do not carry viruses. While you can delete cookies from your computer and disable the saving of cookies by your web browser, doing so may prevent you from using some features of certain websites. Cookies can be created not just by the website you are browsing, but also by other websites that run advertisements, widgets or other elements on the page being loaded. These cookies regulate how advertisements appear or how the widgets and other elements function on the page. Without cookies, you would not be able, for example, to use an online shopping cart or preserve your user preferences.

Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations

On 26 May 2011, the Information Commisioner's Office (ICO) published guidance on the use of cookies by UK websites, and decreed that, with effect from 26 May 2012, website operators would be required to obtain prior consent for the use of cookies, where this consent involves some form of communication wherein the user knowingly indicates acceptance of the cookies. According to ICO guidance, this consent can be inferred by presenting the user with clear and unavoidable notice that cookies will be used and on that basis the user continues to use the site.

How we are trying to comply

We have conducted a survey of the cookies that this website uses, as listed in the next section. At present we cannot prevent our site from trying to set cookies when a user first views a page on the site, though we are actively exploring ways in which this might be achieved. We note that Drupal 6, the database engine on which our website is built, does not include the ability to disable cookies, but we anticipate that such a feature can be included in the next edition of this site. As an interim measure, we have included a clear and unavoidable popup message at the foot of the page, which informs the user that, if they continue, the site will try to set cookies on their computer, and refers the user to this page, which lists the cookies that are set and their purpose, together with links to information that will enable users to disable cookies in their browser should they so choose. Should users continue to browse the site, the popup will change to acknowledge their acceptance of the use of cookies.

Cookies used by this site

Cookies may be set either by the this website ("first-party cookies"), or by a third party website ("third-party cookies"). The lists below identify the cookies we use and explain the purposes for which they are used.

First-party cookies:

  • A Session ID, with a name beginning with the letters SESS, which is used when administrators of the website log in. This cookie does not contain any personal information which could identify the user, and is therefore minimally intrusive. It is used solely to enable site administrators to log in to the site, but is not required by ordinary users. However, consideration will be given to its removal in the near future.
  • A cookie called has_js which records whether or not JavaScript is enabled in your browser. This information is used when you visit a web page which uses JavaScript to perform a function such as playing a video. This cookie is valid only for the current browsing session. Because the only information it stores is in the form of a 1 or a 0, indicating whether JavaScript is enabled, it is therefore minimally intrusive.
  • Four cookies used by Google Analytics, called _utma, _utmb, _utmc and _utmv. These cookies collect information in an anonymous form.  _utma stores the number of visits by a user, the time of the first visit, the previous visit, and the current visit. _utmb and _utmc check how long you stay on the site, and _utmz stores whether you arrived at the site via a search engine, a search keyword, or a link. _utma and _utmb expire immediately, but _utmz remains valid for six months. _utmc is valid for the current browsing session. We are awaiting advice on these cookies and how to deal with them from Oxford University Computing Services, which currently ranks them as minimally intrusive. Further information on privacy and the protection of data obtained from these cookies can be obtained from Google Analytics.
  • A cookie called cookie-agreed-en which records whether the user has agreed to the use of cookies by this site, either explicity by clicking the "Yes, I agree button", or implicitly, by continuing to browse the site despite the clear and unavoidable notice given at the foot of the page.

Third-party cookies:

  • Five cookies generated by the Share button, provided by Lockerz, called uvc, _utma, _utmb, _utmc, and _utmz. _utma stores the number of visits by a user, the time of the first visit, the previous visit, and the current visit. _utmb and _utmc check how long you stay on the site, and _utmz stores whether you arrived at the site via a search engine, a search keyword, or a link. _utma remains valid for two years, _utmb for about half an hour, _utmz for six months, and uvc for one day. _utmc expires at the end of the current browsing session. We do not collect information from these cookies, but Lockerz might use them to collect anonymous information about your visit to our website. If you use the Share via Email option, we will not collect or store your email address and neither will Lockerz. See the Lockerz Privacy Policy for more details on information they might collect. We consider these cookies to be intrusive, and shall be removing them as soon as we can find and implement an alternative way of providing a Share button.

How to disable cookies in your web browser

If you do not want to receive cookies, you can change the settings in your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it, or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. To learn how to restrict or block web browser cookies which are set on your computer, see the Help function within your browser. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the AboutCookies.org website, which contains helpful information on how to do this for a wide variety of browsers.

Further information

For further information on cookies, the ICO's guidelines, and now to disable the storage of cookies by your brower, please consult the following pages: